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Nick Jones
1987
Arcade: Maze
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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24
Ben Stone, Paul Sumner, Mike Dunn
Chris Bourne

BUBBLEBUS SOFTWARE'S latest release bears a remarkable similarity to that age-old arcade favourite Pacman. Hang on a minute... it is Pacman!

The program consists of a series of six unique screens which repeat infinitely. You control a small creature with an insatiable appetite, whom you guide through the onscreen mazes. To progress to the next screen, all of the dots strewn about the maze's passages have to be eaten - with this task accomplished by simply moving over them.

Four ghosts chase you around the mazes, trying to touch you, and thus stealing away one of your three lives. To combat the spooks there are Power Pills placed around the screens. When these pills are eaten, you become temporarily immune and can turn on the ghosts, improving your score with each one that you eat. When a ghost is eaten, it returns to the 'home' square in the centre of the screen. It then reforms, and the relentless pursuit commences yet again.

Letters forming the words 'EXTRA' or' BONUS ' occasionally appear within the mazes. When successfully gobbled they appear at the top of the screen, and are worth 100 points each. Forming the entire word however, earns either an extra life or a substantial points boost - depending on the letters collected. 100 points are also awarded upon the eating of any item of fruit that appears on screen. Each dot is worth 10 points, the Power Pills score 100 points and devouring a ghost is also worth 100 points. Your current score, the amount of lives remaining, and the fruit and letters collected, are displayed at the top of the screen.

When all six screens are completed, the action moves up a level and back to the first screen - but this time the pace is furious, and the ghosts are far less friendly.

CRITICISM

'Gosh, a tedious version of an ancient arcade favourite! I've got stacks of games like this gathering dust on the shelf, they've all been loaded up once and then never played again. The graphics are average for this type of game, there are one or two types of flickery character on the usual drab screen. The sound on the other hand is quite good, there's a jolly tune on the title screen and there are a few munchy effects throughout. The gameplay is much the same as you would expect, fun at first but boring after a few goes. If you're a Pacman fan (that makes you about twenty-two) this will probably keep you quiet for a while - but I wouldn't recommend it.' BEN

'Yeah! We're going back to our roots, man! A different storyline maybe, but the same old game. Classic Muncher is nowhere near as good as MASTERTROHIC 'S version, but most of the features are still there. The grids are well drawn, and the characters move smoothly without any flicker. The title tune is quite good, but the sound effects aren't too useful. Having said all that, no matter how good the gameplay is this concept is a bit long in the tooth to be released these days - even on a budget label.' PAUL

'Ha! What a nostalgia trip this one is! It really does take us all back to the days of the good old Atari VCS consoles - those were the days, eh? Unfortunately, Spectrum games have come on a good bit since those days! Classic Muncher is a memory that I'm sure most of us could do without. It isn't overly addictive, the graphics are very outdated, and basically, I would recommend leaving it alone.' MIKE

COMMENTS
Control keys
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor
Use of colour: drab, and unimaginative
Graphics: unsurprising
Sound: average
Skill levels: one
Screens: six
General Rating: Another uninspired attempt at a worn out idea.

47%
38%
53%
32%
46%
41%

Screenshot Text

Dot Gobblers are an old genre indeed, but perhaps there's something about the game itself that appeals.